The main purpose of a strategic alliance is to join forces to produce a product or service that gives the partners a competitive advantage in the market. The organizations lay strategies before they enter into the alliance and let the strategies drive their dreams and energies to success. This requires the alliances to stay ahead of others in the market by making continuous alliances.
Therefore, the HR department needs to take certain steps and lay down the strategies that are going to ensure a successful alliance before the alliance is really formed. This requires enough thought to be put behind the relationship and details of how the alliance will be managed spelt out (Gonzalez, 2001).
The steps that the HR is required to take include defining the expected outcome of the relationship for all the involved parties. This will make sure that all the involved parties are aware of their roles and what is to be gained from the alliance. This way, the partners in both sides will have a clear objective of what they expect to realize. The other step is to define as well as put on paper the elements that each party provides as well as what is gained from the success of the alliance. This makes the parties fully committed to the alliance as they are well aware of their beneficial target in the alliance. This makes the commitment to its success a paramount priority for all in the alliance (Bear, 2013).
Another step that the HR could undertake is to identify the results that bring more benefits or the one that will be most beneficial for the organization by defining the structure and operating issues that should be addressed in order to gain the necessary results. The desired results can only be achieved through cooperation in all the desired areas or the established areas of collaboration. If the alliance wishes to be successful, they need to define what’s best for them and what procedures or activities will bring in much favorable or desired benefit to the alliance partners. The HR also has the responsibility or the ability to spell the structure as well as the operating issues that should be addressed for the benefits to be achieved (Bleeke, 1993). This requires the HR professionals to be visionary about the goals of the alliance.
The HR should also define the basics of how the alliance is supposed to operate. This is the point where trust is built in the process of making the alliance a success. It also makes certain that the partners’ cultures are compatible and that the parties can operate with an acceptable trust level. The steps that should be passed through before an alliance agreement is reached are, setting alliance strategy, selecting a partner, structuring the alliance, managing the alliance and re-evaluating the alliance (Makower, 2008).
Steps to be taken before reaching an alliance agreement
The first step to a successful alliance is to develop a well crafted alliance strategy. An alliance strategy sprouts from the business strategy and must be planned for well. It guides the terms and conditions of the agreement. The second step is based on the criteria that were established in the strategy session. The HR has the responsibility of establishing if the organizations have strategically alignment or are culturally compatible. In selecting the partner, there are several considerations to be put up. Alliance governance is important to discuss at the earliest stage of the discussion. Third step involves structuring the alliance. It is only possible after the first two stages are completed.
Negotiation requires a significant given attention. It is better to practice negotiation skills before meeting the partner. In this stage an exit strategy is also developed. This however does not imply a pessimistic view of the relationship but gives the recognition that the alliance has a natural life. To maximize on the useful life of the alliance, it is better to recognize its natural life and the time it is going to last. Before signing the definitive agreement, a solid view of the alliance governance is important. The fourth step is on managing the alliance. Making the alliance work once the agreement has been signed is the hardest part of the alliance. It requires the commitment of all the parties of the agreement. Final step involves re-evaluating the alliance. This is whereby the results of the alliance are measured. It helps in determining whether the alliance is achieving its objectives. The re-evaluation looks into the metrics developed for measuring whether the alliance is achieving what it was set out to do (Gibbs, 2009).
Importance of relationship management
The most challenging part of any alliance is making it work on an ongoing basis. A well structured alliance first develops an implementation plan before the real signing of the deal. Developing a launch strategy jointly should be worked on before announcing the deal. Therefore, there will be the need for an implementation plan with specific action plans as well as the resources assigned to the alliance. The relationship management is important in developing an action plan in case of conflicts arising from the partners. It helps develop a conflict-management is important in managing the alliance. The relationship management should develop an action plan that allows the success of the alliance.
Challenges to implementing a successful alliance
Implementing a strategic alliance becomes challenging right from the start of the partnership. A well-thought out implementation plan is crucial to the success of the alliance. However, even with the implementation plan fully developed and well crafted, alliances still face the risk of failing. They face various challenges that could lead to its failure. These challenges include communication problems, cultural differences among the partners, roles and responsibility problems as well as operational problems. Poor communications within the collaborating partners can derail the start-up of the alliance venture or can cause misinformation that will lead to failure of the organization. It also becomes challenging to determine who in the alliance will be in charge as it involves employees from different organizations.
Bear, A. (2013, May 24). Strategic Alliances: Why and How to Build Them. Retrieved from 1000Veentures: http://www.1000ventures.com/business_guide/strategic_alliances_main.html
Bleeke, J. a. (1993). Collaborating to Compete: Using Strategic Alliances and acquisitions in the Global Market Place. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Gibbs, R. &. (2009). Strategic alliances and marketing partnerships: Gaining competitive advantage through collaboration and partnering. London, NI: Kogan Page Limited.
Gonzalez, M. (2001). Strategic Alliances: The Right Way to Compete in the 21st Century. Global Business, 5-8.
Makower, J. (2008). Clorox aims to show the Green Works. Retrieved from GreenBiz: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2008/01/12/clorox-aims-show-green-works